Love in the Time of Dust and Venom by Sharon Joss

Published: 2013 in Fiction River: Time Streams

Genre: time travel

Length: 10 pages

Setting: near future, somewhere on Earth

Interest: It was included in the 2014 Campbellian Anthology

Summary: Keiko’s grandfather, Sufo, has decided he wants to participate in an experimental lightpulse jump that has the ability to send him into the future. Keiko is sure he’s jumping to his death, but since he only has six months to live, she’s willing to support his decision. Sufo makes three jumps. In the first two, he comes back immediately because of problems. However, he brings back fascinating data for the scientists. It’s only on the last jump, 1000 years in the future, that he finds a time to stay.

Final thoughts: I found this story enchanting. It’s told from Keiko’s point of view, so we see her concern for her elderly grandfather and confusion at his choice to jump to the future. She doesn’t agree with his decision, but she respects him enough to abide by it. We never see the future, only Sufo’s reaction to it. We also see the scientists’ glee at the data Sufo brings back about the future, which is totally what how a scientist would react. It’s time travel, although the methodology is basically a handwave, but focused more on the emotions than the actions.

Title comes from: The first time Sufo jumps, the dust he brings back is significant to the scientist. The second time he jumps, he’s stung by bees.

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

Leave a comment

Filed under Book review

Octopus! by Katherine Harman Courage

Subtitle: The Most Mysterious Creature in the Sea

Published: 2014

Genre: nonfiction science

Length: 256 pages

Interest: My aunt had given the book to me after she read it because she thought I’d be interested. I needed a book from home to read (I was out of library books and the library was closed) and this looked good.

Summary: The book is all about octopuses. It starts with our fascination with octopuses, especially in the culinary sense. She also goes into details about the biology of octopuses – their arms, color-changing skin, and reproduction. She recounts some of the research being done on octopuses and the difficulties of working on them.

Final thoughts: Not surprisingly, I enjoyed this book since I’m big into marine biology. I knew a bit about octopuses (although I have to admit I like to call them octopods instead of octopuses), but this went much deeper than my knowledge. I found the inclusion of recipes and different ways to eat octopus a surprising but enjoyable addition to a book that was mostly about the biology of octopuses. She included many interactions she had with octopuses, from fishing for them in Spain, to research labs, to eating them. Overall, an enjoyable book.

Title comes from: The subject

Reading challenges fulfilled: 49/100 in my Finally to 100 Challenge, and an O in my Title Alphabet Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

Leave a comment

Filed under Book review

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Published: 1993

Genre: dystopian YA

Length: 179 pages

Setting: an unnamed Community, sometime in the future

Interest: It’s recommended many places as a great story for kids. Mr. Curiosity decided it would make a good bedtime story.

Summary: Jonas is almost a Twelve, but he has no idea what job he’ll be assigned at the yearly Ceremony. He’s chosen to become the Receiver of Memory, a unique job in the Community. The Giver is the holder of all the memories of the world Before, when choice and differences and bad things were possible. As Jonas receives memories from the Giver, he realizes how limited life in his Community is. He and the Giver devise a plan where Jonas will leave the Community and head Elsewhere. This should result in all his newly-transferred memories being released back to the people. The plan is accelerated when Jonas learns the newchild his family has been raising is scheduled for release.

Final thoughts: I can totally see why this book is recommended so often and won the Newbery Medal. It really made you think about how life was different for Jonas and if those changes were good. I liked how Lowry kept sneaking in details that made Jonas’ world seem more and more alien (assigned families, assigned jobs, Precision of Language, Release if you were old or didn’t fit in, sharing of feelings, etc.). Mr. Curiosity was shocked when he discovered they had given up the ability to see color to improve their sameness. The worst of it was, the people had no idea what they were missing. There were so many rules to follow, and if you couldn’t follow them, you were Released (which Jonas discovered did not mean going to another Community. It meant you were killed). And the ending was so ambiguous – did he save Jonas or did they both die of exposure in the mountains? I think he was hallucinating at the end, but it’s not clear so a kid can think they were saved.

The book worked very well as a read aloud. The chapters were the perfect length for a single night of reading, and there weren’t too many voices that I had to do. Each night, we were left wanting to read more, which is good incentive to get ready for bed in time the next night.

Awards won: Newbery Award in 1994

Title comes from: The Giver’s job

Reading challenges fulfilled: 48/100 in my Finally to 100 Challenge, and 9/12 in my Award Winning Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

Leave a comment

Filed under Book review

Brown Eggs and Jam Jars by Aimee Wimbush-Bourque

Subtitle: Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites

Published: 2015

Genre: cookbook

Length: 308 pages

Interest: I saw it recommended on one of the websites I read as a great cookbook to read and not just for the recipes. My local library had it so I thought it would be worth checking out to see if it was worth buying. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Book review

Short Stories by Jose Iriarte

Title: Yuca and Dominoes

Published: November 2013 in Strange Horizons

Genre: fiction

Length: 15 pages

Interest: It was included in the 2014 Campbellian Anthology

Setting: Miami’s Little Havana, recent past

Summary: Ana Teresa just wants to get out of the apartment building she lives in with her grandparents. She knows there’s more to life than dominoes and Cuban food. She manages to a scholarship to college and makes it out, although she’s drawn back in once her grandfather dies.

Final thoughts: I did not see any hint of science fiction or fantasy in this story. It was an interesting enough story about a girl living among Cuban ex-pats, hoping for more from life, and eventually realizing that life in that apartment building is pretty good.

Title comes from: Ana Teresa’s grandfather spent much of his time playing dominoes with others from the apartment building and her grandmother was famous for her yuca dishes. Both were the ties binding her to that building.

Title: Cabron

Published: November 2013 in TWO: The 2nd Annual Stupefying Stories Horror Special

Genre: horror (I’m assuming from the title of the anthology in which it was published)

Length: 20 pages

Interest: It was included in the 2014 Campbellian Anthology

Setting: a Catholic girls’ school, recent past

Summary: The narrator has just started at a new school. She hasn’t made many friends and is creeped out by the guy who runs the infirmary who looks like a priest, but isn’t actually. He has an unnatural fascination with blood.

Final thoughts: I’m not a fan of horror this seemed to be playing on the Catholic schoolgirl/evil teacher trope. I just wasn’t into it at all so quit after a few pages. It did have more of the Cuban flavor I picked up strongly from the first story.

Title comes from: It’s what the narrator called the teacher at the end (I peeked and read the last two pages just to see how it turned out).

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

Leave a comment

Filed under Book review

The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani

Published: 2007

Genre: historical fiction

Length: 377 pages

Setting: Iran in the 1620s

Interest: I was looking for an A author for my alphabet challenge at the library and this one looked interesting and fit the bill. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Book review

The Planet Savers by Marion Zimmer Bradley

The family and I went camping for five days in the Adirondacks. It was very quiet and the kids were great at amusing themselves, so I finished lots of books. I’ll try to catch up on my reviews this week, starting with a short novella I read to finish up the camping trip.

Published: 1958 in Amazing Stories, 1962 as a novel

Genre: science fiction

Length: 91 pages

Setting: Darkover, the Second Age of recontact with the Terrans, after the Comyn

Interest: It was a random short book on my Kindle. Also, it’s in the Darkover world, which I love. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Book review